Wild Women Don't Have the Blues | Chicago Reader

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Christine Dall's 1989 documentary considers the blues divas of 1920s, beginning with Ma Rainey, whose extravagant theatricality at the turn of the 20th century influenced all those who came after her (Alberta Hunter, Mamie Smith, Ida Cox, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters). Dall surveys so many performers that few of them register individually, despite their often outsize personalities; the film is more notable for its interviews with old-timers who still remember the low-rent origins of the black entertainment business. 58 min.

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